Saratoga Day 19, 8/10
It was the Improv at Saratoga on Friday, and Quick Wit won out.
Jockey Rajiv Maragh wasn't initially on a horse in the Grade III $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. The race wasn't initially meant to be run over the main track. Maragh's mount, Quick Wit, had no good history in the sloppy conditions the race landed in after early rains chased it from the turf and downgraded it from a Grade II.
But it was 10-1 Quick Wit who prevailed by a nose over 6-5 favorite Csaba.
“When they hit the wire the first time, live, I thought we got beat,” winning trainer Dale Romans said. “When I watched the replay, I thought the horse never got by him. Rajiv did a good job, he kept him pinned down in there and rode him hard all the way.”
In his only other start on a sloppy track, Quick Wit was seventh in the Grade III Derby Trial in April at Churchill Downs, 27 1/2 lengths back.
Maragh kept Quick Wit within striking distance Friday and then struck in the final turn, splitting Csaba and Skyring to lead by a head. Csaba kept pace, though, and was on Quick Wit's hip to the wire.
Earlier in the day, jockey John Velazquez was inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame. He was without a ride in the race of the same name, but trainer Todd Pletcher had a main-track-only entry with Raconteur. When the rain moved the race moved to dirt, he put his first-call jock in the saddle. Raconteur, though, had to be eased in the final furlong and finished last of the seven horses in the race.